When you go into a series against the team with baseball’s best record, you want a guy like Hunter Greene on the mound to start things off. It’s the perfect spot for your former first round pick to showcase himself. Unfortunately, with the Reds’ lead sitting at 1-0 in the top of the 3rd, Greene was hit in the leg with a comebacker that forced him out of the game. For a team whose bullpen has, well, struggled, this season, that is about the last thing you could ask for in a series like this. Except it didn’t matter tonight, because the combination of Buck Farmer, Alex Young, Ian Gibaut, and Kevin Herget allowed only 1 run over 6 innings of relief against baseball’s best offense to help lead the Reds to an 8-1 victory That was enough to earn all of them tonight’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star(s) of the Game, though there were plenty others who were deserving.
The Reds jumped on the Rays early and never looked back. They got things started in the bottom of the 2nd when Kevin Newman hit a ball over the wall in left to give the Reds an early 1-0 lead. After a scoreless 3rd, the Reds extended that lead for good. Kevin Newman got his 2nd hit of the night on a double to left. The Reds then loaded the bases on back-to-back walks by Jake Fraley and Nick Senzel. After a Jose Barrero strikeout, TJ Friedl would smack a line drive to clear the bases for a 3-RBI double to give the Reds a 4-0 lead.
Despite only allowing a single run on the night, the game wasn’t without its tense moments. The Rays had multiple innings with multiple base runners, yet the Reds kept coming up with plays to get themselves out if jams. No moment was bigger than the top of the 6th. Randy Arozarena led off the inning with a single to left off of Alex Young. After Wander Franco grounded into a fielder’s choice that retired Arozarena, Harold Ramirez would single to left to move Franco to second. The Rays would then load the bases after a fielding error by Jonathan India. After a Josh Lowe strikeout, Ian Gibaut would replace young to face Manuel Margot. Margot would take a 1-2 pitch and float it out to no-man’s land in right. A hustling Jake Fraley would lay out and make a spectacular grab to save a couple of runs and get the Reds out of the inning unscathed.
The Reds added insurance runs in the 7th and 8th innings to push the lead out to 8-0, highlighted by Kevin Newman’s 3rd hit of the evening and a RBI double by Jose Barrero. A solo home run by Josh Lowe led off the 9th for the Rays, but that was all they could muster in the inning and the Reds would win 8-1.
- Before Hunter Greene’s injury, he was pitching pretty well. His final line: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. The Reds later announced that x-rays were negative and that Greene left with a right shin contusion.
- The Rays home run in the 9th extended their streak of games with a home run to 17 to start the season. That seems good.
- In other injury news, Lucas Sims was able to pitch yesterday and will hopefully be activated soon, according to Mark Sheldon of mlb.com. Spencer Steer was also listed as day-to-day after injuring his knee yesterday.
- Nick Lodolo (2-0, 2.12 ERA) starts game 2 of the series tomorrow as the Reds look to capitalize off their big win tonight. He’ll face off against Taj Bradley (1-0, 5.40 ERA). First pitch is at 6:40 PM EDT.